• Date & Time:

  • Location:

    The Royal Society of Edinburgh
    22-26 George Street
    EH2 2PQ

Event Partners:

The Human Rights Idea in the Philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment

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In this fascinating lecture, Dr Bertrand Ramcharan, former Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will examine the role of Scottish Enlightenment thought in shaping contemporary human rights ideas. The lecture will look at Scottish Enlightenment ideas in the intellectual and policy streams leading up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, focusing particularly on the ideas of Professor Gershom Carmichael, a pioneering Professor of Philosophy at the University of Glasgow who elaborated a detailed code of human rights grounded in natural law theory.

The lecture will also acknowledge the humanistic and justice-oriented writings of other great Scottish Enlightenment Philosophers like David Hume and Adam Smith, although it will not go into their personal stances on contemporary controversies, such as the abolition of slavery. Dr Ramcharan will, however, welcome reflections on contemporary challenges to the universality of human rights, including from major powers.

Dr Ramcharan’s lecture will be followed by a Q&A, ending at 7 pm. The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

This public lecture is being held jointly by the RSE, the Council for At-Risk Academics, and the Young Academy of Scotland.

To book, click below or contact the RSE Public Engagement team – 0131 240 2780


Dr Bertrand Ramcharan